by: Mike Ginsca
Not too long ago, if you went into a Porsche dealership and asked the salesperson for a 911 with an automatic, this is what you’d get.
Performance – This is not the new 991 generation but rather the older 997 generation. To some, this 997 generation is considered to be the last of the “great” 911s due to the fact that is fewer electronics than the new model. One of the biggest changes is that the new one has an electro-assist power steering where as this generation has a traditional hydraulic assist. Having driven both versions, it is very hard to tell the difference between the two. Yes, the new 991 version is a bit easier to steer at slow speeds and the older steering system may sap a tiny bit more power from the engine but the electro-assist and hydraulic assist are both fabulous to drive. At “Porsche speeds”, the steering on this 997 feels tight and you can tell exactly what the front wheels are doing. When the roads get a bit slippery though, you really have to be careful. This does not have the all-wheel-drive system that the Carrera 4S has and the engine being so far in the back, it can make for very easy and unpredictable powerslides.
The engine is a traditional 911 flat-6 producing 340hp and 288 lb-ft of torque. Although this is not the S model, there is more than enough power to get you into trouble with this base 911. The transmission is the first generation of Porsche’s PDK 7-speed dual clutch transmission. Slow and dull shifting is a thing of the past, the PDK transmission is quite possibly one of the best engineered in the world. However, this model doesn’t have a Sport mode which would be nice to have when you’re on a race track. Also the shift buttons on the steering wheel are not instinctive. On race cars, there are paddles behind the steering wheel that the driver pulls to shift up or down. Left is for a downshift, right is for an upshift. On this 911, both buttons on either side of the wheel do the same thing. Push on the button to upshift or pull on the button to downshift. It is very counter intuitive and thankfully Porsche changed that on the new 991 generation.
Comfort – As a base 911, a Porsche still has a prestigious feel on the inside. Typical black leather covers the seats, door panels, handbrake lever, steering wheel, and the dash. In the front, there is plenty of room even for tall people in terms of head and leg room but the back seats are just there to keep the insurance costs down because I don’t think even a child will be able to get into them. A CD changer and an SD card reader are standard on this model but options like satellite navigation were not ticked off the options list when this 911 was made.
On the move, the ride is a little on the firm side because this particular 911 doesn’t have the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system equipped and the suspension is by default set up for handling rather than comfort. Although it is a sporty feel it isn’t completely unbearable because the seat is not of a one-piece carbon fibre design and it does soak up some of the bumps on the road.
Although this is a base model 911, even without satellite navigation, at the end of the day it is still a Porsche. This is a sports car that is world renowned for its excellent handling characteristics and the Porsche 911 is about man and machine working together in perfect harmony.
Thank you to Autoform Performance Inc. for providing the vehicle.
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.